Delivering on Equal Pay

Delivering on Equal Pay

The PSA is taking a two-track approach to delivering on pay equity - using the force of new law to settle claims and new guidance to end discrimination.

Women from across the union movement came together on November 7 to celebrate the day the Equal Pay Amendment Act came into force.

The new law will enable unions to raise and pursue equal pay claims directly with employers, rather than going through an adversarial court process.


Ahead of the new legislation coming into force, the PSA signed bargaining process agreements with employers to progress our claims for public service administration and clerical workers, local government library assistants, community social service workers and NGO social service workers.

Equal Pay Web3It’s part of an equal pay delivery plan designed to leave no one behind.

“We’re putting a stake in the ground. We’re signalling to the new Government that we would like them to join with us to settle claims to deliver on their commitment to pay equity,” says PSA national secretary Kerry Davies.

Kerry says we hope to make the most of the next three years, by prioritising the settlement of claims where there are big groups of low paid workers and Māori and Pasefika women.

“So while we can’t achieve equal pay for everyone overnight, we hope that a win for one group of workers will be seen as a win for all, with each settlement paving the way for the next.”


Speaking at the Equal Pay Amendment Act celebration, PSA DHB administration delegate Nia Bartley spoke about the unequal pay rates in her female-dominated profession.

Nia says DHB admin workers play an integral role in delivering quality care to patients and looking after other staff members, but low pay makes it tough for them to properly care for themselves and their families.

“Our admin workers have suffered. Some have become numb to it all because being underpaid has been normalised,” she says.

But Nia remains optimistic.

“The Government and our employers have recognised a pay increase is needed. I have hope equal pay is on the horizon. We are all worth 100%.”


Alongside the settlement of equal pay claims, the PSA is seeking to end systemic discrimination in work practices through the implementation of the Gender Pay Principles.

 The principles were agreed by a tripartite working group of unions, business and government following a PSA legal claim of discrimination against the Public Service.

The set of guidance to implement the principles is now complete, following the publishing of guidance on remuneration, and career progression, breaks and leave. 

“It’s step by step guidance on good work practice to eliminate the gender pay gap. Each government department has used this to develop their gender pay gap action plans,” says PSA policy advisor Sue O’Shea.

While the guidance talks about gender discrimination, the principles will help eliminate all discrimination.


The PSA and Te Kawa Mataaho have developed the guidance in collaboration with other members of the Gender Pay Principles Working Group.

While the Public Service is obliged to use the guidance, it's hoped it will have a flow-on effect for other workers.

“We’d like it pushed out beyond the public service as another way to reduce inequalities across the board,” Sue says.

“We are gradually seeing progress in closing the gender pay gap, but we are also wanting to change workplace cultures.”

You can help us stay on track to deliver equal pay for all by becoming an equal pay advocate at

Gender Pay Principles:

1 Freedom from bias and discrimination

2 Transparency and accessibility

3 Relationship between paid and unpaid work

4 Sustainability

5 Participation and Engagement

Gender Pay Guidance to implement the principles covers:

  • Flexible work by default
  • Ensuring gender is not a factor in starting salaries
  • Ensuring gender is not a factor for same or similar roles
  • Recruitment
  • Career progression, breaks and leave
  • Remuneration

The guidance is available here:

 Photo Caption: Nia Bartley (centre) and other union women gathered to celebrate the day the Equal Pay Amendment Act came into force

Photo Credit: Mark Coote courtesy of NZEI

Two Tracks to Equality Graphic Design: Eleanor McIntyre

Also in this issue:

Building Our Future

It was our biggest Congress ever, with more than 200 delegates gathering in Wellington to debate, network and make plans that will guide the future of our union.

Read More

Welcome to our New President

We extend a warm welcome to Benedict Ferguson who has been elected as our new president by delegates at Congress 2020.

Read More

News in Brief

An interim offer for the DHB admin pay equity claim, new collective agreements in the Public Service, and a new leadership line-up for our union feature in our News in Brief.

Read More

What can we expect from the new Government?

With a new Government now in place it’s timely for the PSA to consider what we can expect, and what we would like to achieve in the next three years.

Read More

"Our Māori membership stands proud"

Delegates at Hui Taumata came away feeling inspired and empowered to make a difference for their workmates and their people.

Read More

"A Champion of the Vulnerable"

Allan Franks says he felt “privileged and a bit overwhelmed” to receive the Marlene Pitman Award at Hui Taumata, the PSA Māori Congress.

Read More

Rebuilding a Spirit of Universalism

Thanks to all our members who supported the PSA’s Aotearoa Wellbeing Commitment during the election campaign. We’ll be continuing this campaign for a commitment to universal basic services.

Here’s why writer and campaigner Max Harris believes universalism is so important.

Read More

Unions Unite for Home Support

The wider union movement has thrown it’s support behind the They Deserve the Best Campaign for home support that gives dignity to our most vulnerable people.

Read More


PSA members were among the winners in Te Kawa Mataaho's Public Service Day Awards this year.

Read More

Bring On the Holidays!

After the most challenging of years, many of us are counting the days until we can take a well-deserved break.

Read More

HealthCarePlus brings Bikes for Good

Christchurch kids and their bikes will benefit from a PSA HealthCarePlus Grant for Good.

Read More

"It's an eye opener"

The two researchers delving into the findings of our Mana Wahine Treaty Claim survey shared their own experiences of discrimination with Working Life.

Read More

Saving Livelihoods

The Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to have claimed the equivalent of 235 million jobs across the Asia Pacific region.

Read More

"There is a fear of being open about who we are"

The right to work is a fundamental human right - but people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics (SOGIESC) continue to experience discrimination in workplaces which can sometimes force them to leave.

Read More

Rostering for Wellbeing

Members at a mental health unit in Auckland are “stoked” about their new roster system.

Read More

Out of Office

Writing a waiata fit for a Prime Minister might seem daunting.

Read More

He Uiui Raumati

Nau mai ki tēnei Uiui Raumati - Summer Quiz

Read More

Around & About

Pink is the theme for our photo pages this issue thanks to the anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day and the DHB admin pay equity claim Pink Tuesdays.

Read More

The Last Word

Retiring national secretary Glenn Barclay looks back on a time of growth and change at the helm of New Zealand’s largest union

Read More